Archetypes for Aging, is an on-going series exploring the nature of aging in an increasingly youth-oriented culture. I began the series while caring for my own aging family members and interacting with elders at a senior center in Portland, Oregon.
I spend many hours interacting with my subjects before commencing to paint them. My relationship with my subjects becomes a reciprocal one: I receive the benefit of my subjects' life experiences and, in turn, I offer them the life-validating experience of being painted.
The subjects in the series begin to represent something larger than themselves as they are painted. They cease to be "old people", a term connoting limitation and decline, and become "Elders", an honorific title implying wisdom and knowledge. The portraits serve as lessons for living and evolving; the Elder subjects become role models for lives fully lived.
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